Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pantry Challenge, anyone?

I'm working on a Pantry Challenge at the moment. My refrigerator and freezer are absolutely packed full, so it's time.

And, because I am ME, I ended up going to the grocery store first thing after deciding it was time for a Challenge. We were out of dog food, milk, half and half, and a few other necessaries. Nearly $33 worth of necessaries. Except the Flat Earth garlic and herb chips. They were quite blatantly not necessary.

I'm cleaning out the kitchen too, in preparation for the possible move. Brenda came over today, and she left with four knives, a Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal, and a strainer. Come and visit, and you'll probably go home with some kitchen utensil or gadget too.

So, back to the Challenge.

On Monday, Skeeter went out to some steakhouse with people with work. I made a yummy corn and potato chowder. Sass and I love it, but Spyder and Skeeter refuse to eat it. Since Skeeter was out, I decided it was the best time to make it.

On Tuesday, we went to Fazoli's, same as always. We did see friends there though, so I'm glad we went.

Last night, I made pizza pops (dough with pizza sauce and cheese inside -- very good!) and a yummy spinach salad. Oh, and bruchetta. Because the pizza pops didn't have enough carbs.

Tonight I had intended to make a bacon and cheddar quiche, but the children were having trouble getting along, and I spent an hour helping them work out the disagreement. (Much wailing over the placement of the furniture on the back deck.)

All of that drama threw the real cooking idea out the window, so we had a cookout instead. Hot dogs and roasted veggies on the grill, and I threw some french fries in the oven. I also made mashed potatoes, just because I wanted them.

Tomorrow should be pizza and movie night, but the children are going to a sleepover.


Sorry, just had to get that out.

Anyway, since the children won't be here, I don't know what the dinner plans will be. I'm thinking that pizza won't be involved though.


At the moment I'm reading Joe Mackall's Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Irish. I'm not quite finished, but I came across a passage this afternoon that was too good to wait.

The author had gone to his Amish friend Samuel to share the death of the author's Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob had been brain damaged due to radiation treatments back in the 1930s.

Because of this, he couldn't read, do simple math, drive a car, marry, or support himself. But he could be everybody's friend, and be the lucky owner of an endless spirit.

"Some doctor just screwed up," I said, feeling angry about a man's damaged life and fresh death.

"Maybe a doctor made a mistake, but God didn't," Samuel said. "God made Uncle Bob that way because everybody who knew him needed him to be exactly the way he was."

What a beautiful sentiment. I hope that we all are the people that our families and friends need us to be.

Spyder had a busy night

The pile of books on Spyder's bed when I went in to wake him this morning.

Monday, October 29, 2007

For equal representation

In honor of Maxim's latest "top 5" list -- the Top 5 Unsexiest Women Alive -- Candy at Candy's Corner has given us the chance to vote for the top 5 unsexiest men!

Scoot over and exercise your voting rights!

Olive Rolls

Several weeks ago, the children and I made a recipe related to our study on ancient Rome. Essentially, it's a crusty yeast bread stuffed intermittently with olives. Unlike many of those "ancient recipes," it was pretty good -- good enough for us to make as part of our regular meals. But being me, I had to tweak the recipe.

I made an olive salad with black olives, green olives, garlic, and a bit of olive oil, all chopped together in a food chopper. The olive salad is stuffed into unbaked bits of dough, about the size of the palm of the hand.

If I'm feeling ambitious, I make the dough using this recipe on Allrecipes. If not, I let Pillsbury do the major work for me and use refrigerated dough instead.

It works best to completely cover the olive salad, then place the roll seam-down on the baking sheet. This is a great recipe for little hands though, as it doesn't really matter if the olive salad spills out a bit.

The result:

Sass did three of the four. Can you guess which one I did? :)

A bit o' redneck fun

My parents have a huge Osage Orange tree in the front yard. And that bad boy puts out a lot of fruit -- massive green grapefruit-sized fruit.

One of the chores at my parents' house is to throw the fruit across the road. Since my dad can't, and my mom doesn't have time, it's been largely neglected. The children and I decided to do that chore while we were there on Saturday.

It's boring work really, just throwing and throwing and more throwing. We always make it into a game though, what we've termed Redneck Bowling. Hey, when you're getting rid of more than 200 of these things, you do what you can to make it less monotonous! And anything is more fun as a game.

We throw the fruit across the road, and usually one of them doesn't get quite all the way across. If one does stop in the road, we try to bowl the fruit across the road to hit the "stuck" one and get it across as well. Points are counted according to how many thrown, and double points for each hit on a "stuck" one. (I never said it was complex!)

Sass couldn't really throw them. They were way too big for her little hands, so she gathered them for Spyder and me.

I won, but only by a small margin, and only because I was able to bowl one out of the road. It sounds easy, but it's kind of tricky, since the fruit isn't perfectly round. The bumpy fruit rarely follows the path that the bowler hopes!

And just for kicks, here is a photo of "across the road."

I'll have to take a photo of it when it's filled with unripened wheat. I think it's most beautiful then.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Coming to you remotely

Due to the wonder that is the internet, today's post is coming to you from my parents house!

My dad is now out of the hospital! He completed the physical therapy and his home again, but at the moment there are many things that he can't do, so he needs to have someone available all the time. We're visiting today so that we're the ones available.

Skeeter also had to fix their computer. Well, truly, it was unfixable. Skeeter worked on it for three days, and it's still not working. So we replaced their computer with one of ours (but . . . shhhh . . . they don't know).

At the moment, Skeeter and Dad are watching Psycho and the children are (in an interesting change of pace) upstairs playing Paperboy on the GameCube.

Oops. I spoke (wrote?) too soon. In the time that it took me to write the previous sentence, Skeeter and the children decided to go out and ride the four-wheeler instead. That's generally the way it is when we're here though -- they spend most of their time outside. I'm glad they can.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Big news!

Oh, yes! Big news, on two fronts!

First, and biggest, I found the camera yesterday! Well, Spyder was the one who recovered it. His little arms are better suited for reaching under the car seats, so I asked him to look thoroughly, and -- tada! -- he found it! I'm so happy and relieved! So later, a few pictures from the Native American Heritage Days.

The other one, not so big, but a personal accomplishment. I finished Zuma! Finished, as in completed every single board on all 12 (plus two extra) levels!

And today, the rain is less motivating. I want to sleep. But that might have something to do with Sass waking me up at 5:30 this morning. I can't sleep though. I have to find the case for Chrysanthemum so that we can return it to the library. And I have bills to pay, since I'm rather fond of having electricity and running water.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy days

I absolutely love rainy days. I'm sure there's some sort of disorder or syndrome associated with that, but I just love them!

I'm more motivated on rainy days, and I'm more satisfied.

This morning I cleaned out my tea cupboard -- completely cleaned it out. I only put back the ones I really love and use, and I still had two shelves of teas! Small shelves, but still . . . two shelves! Now I've sworn to use these before buying more.

All of the ones that I culled were taken to the library to share with my librarian friends. They're always so wonderful to us, so I like to take them little happy surprises anyway. As soon as I find my cookie cutter for the Bat Brownies, I'll take some of those too.

Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy as well, and I intend to stay home all day. I feel the need to make corn and potato chowder and continue cleaning out the kitchen cabinets.

Mmmm. Chowder! And cheesy garlic biscuits!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So, the moving

It's inevitable. We will be moving, most likely sometime within the next two years. The earliest could be summer 2008, and the latest would be summer 2009.

But at any rate, that's only time. It is still inevitable. So all of those "someday" projects have come due.

The first overhaul will be in the master bedroom and bath. The vanity is old and ugly as homemade sin. It has to be torn out and replaced. And the bathroom is so small that I betcha it will have to be custom made. The current vanity is 36 inches long and 15 inches deep. I think I'd prefer to have it a little bit shorter than 36 inches. There's no possible way to increase the depth though, since that's the space available between the door and the wall, and opening the door is kind of important.

My uncle is a carpenter though, so I'll see if he will make it. My sister's boyfriend has already agreed to install it and patch the hole that my lovely, lovely children chipped in the drywall. Lovely children.

I spent today choosing colors. I had to find colors that would complement the bedroom and the hall, so I went with natural greens and browns, not too dark. Next up, choosing the style for the vanity. And convincing my Uncle Kurt that it needs to be done in this century.

Maybe I'll do before and after pictures of this whole experience. This is my first major house undertaking, since I don't think installing the pantry counts.


It's how they play best

Sass and Spyder are up to something. They've been whispering together all afternoon.

The living room floor is covered with bits of cut paper, crayons, and toilet paper. And I've been told that I am forbidden access to Sass's room. Spyder is creating something, and Sass is standing guard outside the door. Spyder has made entrance passes, and I'm not to have one.

I'm not worried though. It's been a cold and rainy day, and I prefer when they're playing together like that.

I am, however, going to clean up all of the abandoned mess in the living room.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The weekend

I've only just slowed down from this weekend. Tonight, I'm looking forward to two things: eating out and sleeping.

Saturday we spent the first part of the day at a company-wide Family Day sponsored by Skeeter's employer. It was held at a local kitschy farm with a pumpkin patch, pony rides, and a huge play area. They also had a little train and gave rides. The children loved that! Skeeter even won a door prize this time, a camp chair. Sass was particularly pleased with that, since she had been aching for one ever since the last Family Day that was for his department. The Family Day was a lot of fun, but I (once again) forgot sunblock for myself, so I was sporting a nice little sunburn by the end of the day.

After the Family Day, we gathered our things and headed to Mom and Dad's house. One of the local state parks nearby sponsored a Halloween carnival, so we took the children. They loved it, of course. Candy was involved! There were lots of games too, and a "haunted trail" which wasn't terribly scary.

After that busy day, we stayed overnight at Mom and Dad's because . . . Sunday was my dad's 65th birthday! He is still in the hospital, in a physical therapy program, but they allowed him a one day "therapeutic pass." He got home at about 8:45 on Sunday morning. The dog was so excited to have him home! Her back feet were scooting back and forth on the floor because her tail was wagging so vigorously!

It was a relatively uneventful day full of visits and food. Dad was supposed to be back at the hospital around 5 pm, in time for his nightly medicines. He ended up going back a bit early though because the power went out. His oxygen machine runs on electricity, and his portable tank was low, so he decided not to take chances and head back to the hospital. He was really tired from the exertion of the day, but he had a great time.

Skeeter and I left after the power went out, but before Dad left for the hospital. Skeeter had to work last night, supposedly from 5 pm Sunday to 5 am Monday, replacing a section on a bridge. Things went wrong all night though, and the crews (and Skeeter) are still out there, at almost 5 pm Monday. Poor Skeeter. I feel so bad for him. He doesn't do well with no sleep, and he's been up for over 24 hours. He still doesn't know what time he'll be done.

The children and I have had a relatively low-key day, although I was up at 4:20 am today. I don't sleep well when Skeeter isn't here. It was an early day, and I'm beginning to wear down. It's been a good day for cleaning out the bedroom though. More on the bedroom redecorating later . . . .

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's all about me.

Another meme, simply because I'm in quite a state over the (still missing) camera.

Shamelessly lifted from Golden Goodness

What was I doing 10 years ago

I was about three months pregnant with Spyder, and I had just returned from visiting my parents to give them the news. At the time, we lived about 1000 miles away. I have a scar on my arm from that visit. I was leaving my mom's store, carrying a big box, and my arm scraped against a piece of hard plastic. It made a long, deep scratch, which has since turned into a scar. I'd show a photo, but alas, I'd need the camera for that.

What was I doing 5 years ago

We had just bought our house. In fact, we closed on the house five years ago yesterday! Sass was about 9 months old -- and cute as anything. She was a pumpkin for her first Halloween. Not as striking as Spyder's first costume -- Elvis!

What was I doing 1 year ago

We had just visited Elmwood Cemetery. I love old cemeteries, and this one was just fabulous. We're hoping to go next week, since the weather isn't beastly hot.

What did I do yesterday

Hmm. Yesterday was a "stay at home" day. I cleaned out Sass's closet, took some pictures to help with the redecorating, and took our donations to the thrift store. I went to the library in the afternoon, and we went to the YMCA to swim. Oh, and we ate out since we went swimming.

5 snacks I enjoy

cashews, popcorn, ice cream, M&Ms, clementines

5 things I would do if I had $1,000,000

Pay taxes. Pay off everything. Travel. Visit the financial planner. Buy a new vehicle for Skeeter.

5 places I would run away to

Mom & Dad's. Julie's. Lisa's. Seattle. Alaska.

5 bad habits I have

Procrastination. Impatience. Forgetfulness. Lack of forethought. Staying up far too late.

5 things I like doing

Reading. Singing. Soapmaking. Attending fairs and festivals.

5 tv shows I like

Numbers. Heroes. Digging for the Truth. (Josh isn't on it any more though, and I've refused to watch since. I'm sure the new guy is just as good, but, well, you know.) Mr Bean. Arthur.

5 biggest joys

Family. Friends. Satisfaction. Understanding. Answered prayers.

I'm having a crisis

The children and I had such a great day today! We spent half of the day at Chucalissa Indian Village enjoying the Native American Heritage Days.

The museum staff had set up fantastic, hands-on stations where the children made headbands and necklaces, made pottery, and playing traditional games. We also watched dancers and listened to traditional flute music.

It was a beautiful day, slightly cool in the morning, but warm in the sunshine. I even had the forethought to pack a picnic lunch, so the children and I had our picnic while watching the dancers.

The crisis? I think I've lost my camera!

Ooooh, this is not good. It's going to cost big bucks to replace it, and I normally make cash for stuff like that by eBay sales. Can't exactly make great sales without a camera!

I have a call in to the museum. Maybe, just maybe, someone turned it in.

You might be a redneck if

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A few things on my mind

None of them are particularly worthy of a single post, so they're all getting lumped into one.
  • Spyder woke up this morning at FIVE THIRTY to throw up, which of course, roused Sass. Skeeter's alarm was going off anyway. So the whole family was up at FIVE THIRTY. I can't stress enough how early FIVE THIRTY is to me anyway. It's even earlier when it comes with the sounds that I heard this morning.
  • Fortunately, the aforementioned regurgitation was a result of something he ate, so he was fine afterward.
  • Sass played outside from dawn until we left for the grocery store at, oh, about 9:30. She was not happy that I made her wait until daylight to go out. I had to give her a bath beforehand because she was muddy from head to toe. And after the trip to the grocery, she was out and muddy once again and had to have another bath before art class.
  • Since we were all up at FIVE THIRTY -- all of us -- my schedule was completely awry. The interviewees should get questions tomorrow morning, assuming that my urchins don't completely disrupt the schedule again. I really should stay up and do them, but, you know, that whole FIVE THIRTY business has really taken it out of me today.
  • We're moving, for sure. Not until the end of next year, at the earliest, but we're definitely moving. We won't find out where we're going until then, but the whole idea is beginning to sink in. I went through the closets over the last few days. Looking good! I've gotten rid of absolutely everything that we haven't worn recently. Skeeter still has far too many shirts though. I'll have to sneak a few of those out too. Just working through . . . . I talked with a friend at art class about selling the house, and she gave me some great pointers for painting and colors. One good thing is that everything is cosmetic; no major repairs to be done.
  • I'm loving my Zen. Loving it, even more than usual. I've been listening to books (why did it take me so long to realize that I could put audio books on there?), and doing the dishes and cleaning the stove aren't quite as bothersome as they once were.
  • I need to make more soap (Christmas is on the way, and I give some away then), and I'm out of my scents. Must make time to go to Maggie's Pharm. I may end up buying a microwave because of the soap. I've never attempted it on the stove. I have heard of "blender soap," but the recipe I was given requires lye, and I'm not sure I'm confident enough to try that.
And now that the basics are here, I must go and deal with the mound of clean laundry on the bed. I did three loads this morning! I suppose that FIVE THIRTY is good for something.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Things about me

I was tagged by the Multitasking Mama for this meme. Here are the rules:

  1. Link to your tagger and post rules.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random and some weird.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of post and list their names.
  4. Let them know they were tagged by a comment on their blog.
Seven Definitely Random, Possibly Odd, Things About Me (That I Think I Haven't Shared Before)
  1. I am partially deaf in my left ear. Only a small percentage, and I can't even remember what percentage. Most of the time it doesn't bother me. It's the result of a combination of things: a really bad ear infection when I was in college, being an idiot and not going to the doctor as soon as I should have, and just after that, starting a job that required me to wear a earpiece phone. It's also made that ear very sensitive to high range pitches. The "beep, beep" of the register scanner at the Wal-Mart -- so far only at the Wal-Mart -- sometimes hurts so badly that I have to walk away while my things are being scanned. That's one of the (many) reasons that I avoid going there.
  2. My first job was as a typesetter at a printer's shop. I made $3.35 an hour. And I thought I was living large.
  3. When I was 17, I knocked the passenger side mirror off of my dad's truck while pulling into one of the parking spaces at the Sonic. The Sonic was one of the places to hang out, and of course, there were loads of people there. I was so embarrassed that I got out, picked up the mirror, threw it in the back of the truck, and drove off. In my defense, it was a 1977 Ford Ranger (that he loved immensely) with a column shift. I didn't drive it often, and it was bigger the car than I was accustomed to driving.
  4. I prefer driving a car with a manual transmission. I bought a manual transmission car (a 1982 Toyota Tercel) before I knew how to drive one. My dad found it, declared it a good buy, and I bought it. He drove us off the lot to a low traffic road, and I learned how to drive it. Lawzy, I just Googled it, and this looks exactly like my old car. Same color and all. It was a good little car.
  5. I took my first (and so far, only) trip to Disneyworld when I was 27 and pregnant with Spyder. It was loads of fun, and I was constantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, being 27 with no children, at least none outside the womb.
  6. My two favorite words are persnickety and indefatigable.
  7. I almost went to graduate school in Canada, at the University of Saskatchewan. I had been accepted and had my scholarship and loan things all done, and Skeeter talked me out of it.
So there you are, seven more things that you didn't know (and possibly didn't want to know). And to keep this moving, I duly tag:
  1. Southern Girl
  2. Ramblings from Another Southern Gay Guy
  3. The Musings of Another Working Mom
  4. Bliss in Bloom
  5. Saints and Spinners
  6. Froggy Girl Designs
  7. You!

Monday, October 15, 2007

End of the interview

I hope you enjoyed the interview!

If you'd like to be interviewed, just leave a comment in this post, and I'll try to come up with a few clever questions for you!

Interview, Part V

Do you know why God decided to place whiskers on womens chins after they give birth?

Oh, we all know the real reason . . . hormones, hormones, hormones. But really, that's a wee bit unfair of Him, don't you think? As if we need something more to be hormonal about?

Baby? Check.
Lack of sleep? Check.
Extra laundry? Check.
Other child who feels as if he doesn't get enough attention any more? Check.
Weird hairs on chin? Check.

Thanks. Thanks loads.

I think it's much kinder to think of those extra bits as reminders. I know that I'm terrible about taking little or no time to focus on me as a person, not as Mom-only. It's been all-child, all the time for me lately, and it's taking a toll on me.

I think I'll take the time to check for unsightly chin hairs tonight, lest I end up looking like a grandmother before I should.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh, how I've missed you

My dear Internetians, I've missed you all!

Last week's posts were a bit -- ahem -- sparse. Let's just chalk it up to fall and school being in full force. October is always a busy month, but this one seems more busy than usual.

Quite honestly, I don't remember Monday or Tuesday at all. On one of those days, we spent a few hours at the hospital, but I can't remember which day. Oh, yes. It was Monday. I had intended to get cash at the bank, and I was thwarted because of Columbus Day.

We began our conversational German class last week, which made our already-full Wednesday even more so. German in the morning; lunch on the run; art in the afternoon. Oh, and German and art are both about 30 minutes from my house -- in opposite directions -- which added a total of over an hour (with traffic) to the day. I hate being in the car so much.

Thursday was catch-up-on-errands day. My car was 1500 miles overdue for an oil change, so the children and I took the car to the dealership to have it done. Waiting. Afterward, we took it to the car wash and detail place to have it cleaned properly. More waiting. Lots of waiting on this one -- nearly two hours. After the car wash, the grocery store, with the children who were tired of the waiting thing and decided to chase each other around the store. I had spent very nearly the whole day attempting to corral the children, and I was not a happy mama by the evening.

On Friday, we went to see the Blue Dog exhibit at the Dixon Gallery, and, oh, it was wonderful! There wasn't a docent available for us, but I think I'm glad. I prefer just wandering around to whatever appeals to me. I was most drawn to the hurricane pieces, which surprised me a bit, since I do adore those whimsical Blue Dogs.

Saturday was a go-go-go day. I did storytime at the bookstore in the morning (Guess How Much I Love You -- one of my favorites). The craft was a messy one, with glue and sequins and feathers, so clean up took a bit longer than usual. After work, I ran home to get Skeeter and Spyder (who had both had Scouts that morning), then we went to Big Lots and back to the bookstore. One of Skeeter's former co-workers is in the hospital, so I was finishing a little basket of goodies for him (and his wife, of course). Skeeter went into the hospital so he could visit a bit and take the basket while the children and I waited in the parking lot. Sass had fallen asleep on the ride, and they've had enough of hospitals anyway.

It was a nice day, so we found a shady spot to park. We all had a snack, and I read a bit from Whittington. (Only about six chapters, but Spyder has since finished it and declared that I should read it aloud anyway. Must be good.)

After the hospital visit, we had dinner and a movie with The Michael and a couple of his friends. They and Skeeter saw Stardust, and I took the children to see Ratatouille. And even though we were completely full of Chinese food, we still had popcorn and drinks. And sneaked candy. It's tradition with The Michael, to sneak the candy. I stopped at Walgreen's on the way to the Chinese place, just so that we would have candy to sneak with The Michael. It totally cracks me up, this tradition. We buy popcorn, drinks, occasionally nachos or a hot dog, but if we're with The Michael, we must bring candy. What can I say? He's a bad influence. :o)

Saturday was a very long day for me. Sass and I left for the bookstore at ten minutes to 9 that morning, and we weren't home again -- except for the brief pit stop to pick up the boys -- until almost 10:45 that night. Fun, but long and tiring. I didn't realize how tired I was until I walked in the door. Even Spyder, who usually reads before going to sleep, was snoring by the time I had finished getting ready for bed.

Today we had church, then we went to see my dad at the hospital afterward. He's finally been moved to the smaller hospital closer to home! Excellent for them, but a bit less convenient for me. He was in such good spirits to be back home though, near the people he knows. We were there almost all day, but not all at the hospital. We went to their house, played with the dog and cat a bit, and let the children wander around the yard and the field. They love doing that.

Dad is supposed to start physical therapy tomorrow, but he has had a lot of fluid build up, so I think they're going to work on getting that off first. They had given him something to help with that as we were leaving tonight. Mom called when we were almost home and said that it was making him feel better already.

And now I believe I've gotten caught up with everything. I think. Tune in tomorrow when I answer Piper's last interview question and moan about what to make for dinner while wondering how to manage reading the 187 posts that have piled up in my Google Reader! :o)

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's completely altruistic

Right now, I can tell that my children don't watch television very much. They're enjoying a rare hour with the television, specifically on a (new to me) channel called qubo.

Sass just came running to me and said, "Oh, Mama! These commercials are so good! They really help me know what to put on my Christmas list!"


Monday, October 08, 2007

Interview, Part IV

Did you always want to be a homeschooler? Were you scared of that responsibility when you decided to go for it?

I never really gave it serious thought until Spyder was ready to enter kindergarten. Skeeter and I were in debate over what to do -- homeschool? public school? private school? -- so I decided to call the schools we were considering to learn about the structure and what they'd be teaching.

I called four schools. The answers from all of them were pretty much the same -- learning letters, numbers, colors. Everything that the teachers mentioned was something that Spyder could do already. He would have been bored out of his mind. And anyone who knows him already knows that Spyder + bored = trouble.

So we decided to homeschool for kindergarten. After some initial bumps, the kindergarten year worked out well. By the time first grade rolled around, I gave Spyder the option, going to school or continue homeschooling. He chose homeschooling, and we've been going strong ever since.

We have a long "review" discussion over several days at the end of every year, just to make sure that he's still getting what he wants and needs from his education. This year, he strongly considered going to school, so we went to check out what was offered. Ultimately, he decided that the school wasn't what he wanted and decided to continue with homeschooling, with us implementing a few changes that he requested.

Some days it does overwhelm me, both the responsibility and the day-to-day tasks. What parent hasn't felt that way at one time or another? And yes, some days I long for time alone, for time to complete projects or tasks uninterrupted. But for now, homeschooling is the best thing for my children, so I give the time to them gladly. As with most things, it's a work in progress.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Interview, Part III

Pull out all the stops here, and make us less than extraordinary Moms feel more normal. What was your most embarrassing "Mom moment"?

First of all, lets clear up a little misconception: there's nothing extraordinary about me! (All of my real life friends are hooting with laughter and nodding their heads at that.) I appreciate the confidence in my parenting abilities though. :)

There are so many of these that it's hard to pick one.

I asked Skeeter, and he said, "The Coke thing. Definitely." Bless my soul. There have been so many since then that I didn't even think of that one. It was a doozy though.

When Spyder was little, we wandered -- thrift stores, malls, Target. It didn't really matter where; we just liked wandering. One of our places to wander was Goldsmith's, a now-defunct department store that was bought out by Macy's. On this particular trip, Spyder was riding in his stroller, and I had the diaper bag and a can of soda in the little basket underneath.

Spyder wanted to go through two of the columns in the stroller ("like a tunnel, Mama!"), and the stroller got stuck, of course. In my efforts to get the stroller wheels unstuck, I forgot about the open can of soda in the basket. The wiggling overturned it, and it spilled into the basket and onto the floor. When I finally got the stroller out, there was a nice little brown pool on the beige carpet. Spyder immediately started saying (much more loudly than warranted), "MAMA! YOU SPILLED THE COKE ALL OVER! MAMA!! YOU SPILLED!"

Any effort to quiet him only made it that much worse. I had been trying to make my way (discreetly) to the counter to ask for paper towels. That was ruined, of course, because Spyder thought I was trying to make a getaway without cleaning the spill. "MAMA!! YOU SPILLED! YOU HAVE TO CLEAN IT UP! YOU SPILLED THE COKE, MAMA!"

You never notice department store acoustics until there's a two year old testing them out. A very vocal and emphatic two year old.

Other shoppers were looking at me as if I was a rodent who got caught nipping into the Gouda.

I couldn't leave to get the paper towels because my little angel wouldn't stand for it, but I had to clean it up. What else was there to do? I stood there for a moment, frozen with embarrassment. I thought I would buy a little time by fussing with the soda that had spilled into the basket. The diaper bag was fabric and had absorbed most of it. It was as I was pawing through the diaper bag that I realized I had towels, of a sort.

We used cloth diapers most of the time, and I had several of those in the diaper bag. Towels. Sort of. I grabbed a couple of those to clean the mess, and said, "It's okay, honey. I'm cleaning the Coke right now."

You'd think that would have made it all okay, right? No. Spyder turned around to look, and he was completely, utterly freaked out that I was using his diaper to clean the spill.


As if those diapers hadn't seen much worse.

And all of the other shoppers were still staring. I can't remember if any of them were close enough to actually see that I was using a clean cloth diaper rather than a previously used one. Or one that I had taken off of his little behind at that moment.

Cleaning the carpet of the department store with Spyder bellowing, "MAMA! THAT'S MY DIAPER!" under scrutiny of the other shoppers is not my idea of a good time. And, oh yes, there was much staring.

I cleaned up most of it, threw the wet diapers into the diaper bag, scooted over to the cashier to tell her about the spill (as if she didn't already know) and let her know that it probably needed some spot cleaner. After that, I booked it out of there as fast as I could.

Was that the end? Noooooo. Spyder had to tell everyone that "Mama spilled the Coke." Everyone. The people at Target; the next door neighbor; the person in the elevator . . . . He told everyone he met that I had spilled the Coke. And of course, he didn't leave it there. He also had to mention that I used his diaper to clean the Coke, as if it was the most humiliating thing he'd ever endured. I found myself having to explain what happened to everyone, nicely reliving my embarrassment each time, thankyouverymuch.

We attempted to go back to Goldsmith's only once, several months afterward. I'm sure you know why it was only once. I had thought that -- perhaps, just perhaps -- Spyder wouldn't think about my spill. Oh, how wrong was I. I found myself hearing, "MAMA! THIS IS WHERE YOU SPILLED THE COKE!"

I only needed to hear that once before I turned around and left. At least that time I didn't have to worry about cleaning up first.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Interview, Part II

If you had one week just for Noodle, with no obligations or sense of urgency, no responsibilities, no kids, no husband, and plenty of spending money, what would you do to feel most alive and sublime?

This was actually Piper's question #5, but it's an easy-peasy one for me, so I moved it up in the rankings. :)

No little urchins, unlimited funds? I'd grab Skeeter and hop a plane to England. I know that Skeeter wasn't really part of the equation, but he's my best friend, and I wouldn't want to go without him. And I'd really want more than a week, but I'll take what I can get.

Skeeter and I spent about two and a half weeks in England on our honeymoon (ACK! almost 12 years ago!), and we had an incredible time.

We spent time wandering at outdoor markets, on lonely little roads, through ancient ruins and in old castles and cathedrals.

We laughed at the hotel that turned off the heat during the day when they believed everyone should be out.

We met interesting and fun people in the pubs who were enamored with my Southern accent and kept coming to our table and saying, "Talk to me, girl!"

We hung out with the Royal Shakespeare Company after a performance one night, and we got invited back for another time.

In all of my travels, that particular trip stands out as the one where I really did feel most alive and at peace with myself. And I'd love to go back and make more memories.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Pile Shirt

As promised, a picture of Skeeter's black-dotted Pile Shirt, complete with nerdly pocket items. Unfortunately, you can't see the interior pocket with its pencils and notebook.

There's just nothing that says "nerd" like a button down striped shirt with an overflowing pocket.

Interview, Part I

How long have you been blogging, and what was your inspiration to start your blog?

I've been blogging here for almost two years, since December of 2005. I started blogging about seven months before that though, on a blog that I deleted when I started this one.

A friend unintentionally introduced me to the idea when she started a blog chronicling the planning for her son's bar mitzvah. I started one a few months after I first read hers. That particular blog was very hidden, as much as I could make it, and I didn't tell anyone. It was on Blogspot as well, and I found that many times I would draft something without ever posting it. Not that it mattered anyway, since no one knew.

In November 2005, I was part of a group discussion on blogs and blogging in general. I mentioned (offhand, very late, in a foggy state) that I had been blogging. Because I know Julie all too well, I knew she'd search for it. And may or may not find it. Not that it mattered really, but it was much more introspective and personal. I ended up deleting that blog. There was no audience, and I had no real plan for it, so it wasn't all that fantastic anyway.

But at any rate, I deleted that one and started anew, this time with the idea that I would tell a few people about it, and there would be other people reading. Theoretically, anyway.

I use my blog as a journal of sorts, to remind myself where I was at that point. Sometimes I use it to chronicle our homeschooling activities or to share something with others. But mostly it's just for me to ramble on about our days.

Diane never knew that her blog about Max's bar mitzvah would inspire my own rambling blog. I'm not even sure that she knows now, but I'm glad that she started hers. It's opened my eyes -- to my own seriously diminished writing skills, to excellent ideas from others, and to meeting people whom I would have never met otherwise.

Every day is an adventure

Oh my gosh, y'all. My Skeeter is so unintentionally funny.

I just got a call from him. He started the conversation with, "You'll never guess what's going on."

Of course, my mind immediately went to any number of disasters that could occur on site. "Is it bad?" I said.

"Oh, no. No. Well, I guess it depends. There's a film crew here today," he said. "They're following me around, making some sort of training video."

I laughed. "They're what?"

"They're following me around, filming everything. I'm just trying to get my work done, and they keep saying things like, "That was good. Can you do it again, and move your chair back about four inches?" and they're keeping the camera about two feet from my face all the time. You know how I feel about my personal space. I just ditched them for a few minutes, and I thought I'd call you. I'm on the high line."

I won't even pretend I wasn't laughing about this. I pulled myself together and asked what any wife will ask when she finds out that her husband is the subject of some work video. "So what did you wear today? Do you at least look decent?"

"Well, I'm wearing The Pile Shirt. And I've got all the usual stuff in my pocket."

At that point, I didn't even pretend that I wasn't laughing.

Now this requires some explanation.

The Pile Shirt is a very nerdly type shirt that is one of Skeeter's favorites. The Pile Shirt name came from when he was inspecting piles out on a site, and oil or something splattered across him. The Pile Shirt is a blue striped shirt, similar to blue ticking, but after the pile incident, it's blue striped with black spots. I don't fuss about what he wears mostly, simply because of the type of work he does, so I let him keep it in his closet.

The pocket requires a paragraph all to itself. Skeeter keeps pens, pencils, a field log, and glasses (or sunglasses, depending on which he's wearing) in his pocket. Those are all in the shirt pocket. He has the benefit of two pockets -- one on the shirt and one on his neon vest. The vest pocket also contains a few pens and pencils and a different field log. It has a loop for his work cell phone. The left half of his clothing is so weighed down with stuff that it's pulled lower than the rest of his shirt.

When he gets home today, I'll take a photo. I don't think the explanation does it justice.

So my Skeeter is out there today, in The Pile Shirt, with cameras two feet from his face, having to do all of his tasks twice. I'm sure he's having a grand old day.

But it made for a good laugh.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dustbunnies and tumbleweeds

I've been so focused on my dad and keeping some sort of normal life that my mind is completely blank. Completely.

When I sit down to do some sort of post, I feel intimidated by the blank screen. And my mind keeps going to all of the undone things hanging over me. But darling Piper had kindly offered me a bit of fodder for the ol' blog! She sent me a few interview questions today! I'm stealing an idea from Kaleigh, and I'll be answering those questions over the next few days.

Today I spent half of the day on the phone and in front of the computer getting field trips scheduled for the homeschool group. Even that was in vain, since I could only get a firm date for one of them, and I'm waiting on callbacks for four more. Oh, and I remembered two hours too late that today was park day, and we could have been playing at the park with the homeschool group! These are my days lately, remembering the important stuff way too late, if at all.

On a happy note, my dad came out of his pacemaker surgery quite well. I can't ever get to the hospital until 8 pm or so because Skeeter's been working late -- crazy deadlines and contractors! -- and I have to make and serve dinner and such. Mom said she wanted Dad to get to sleep early, so I decided to wait on going out until tomorrow. The Michael did go though, after work, and he reports that Dad is slightly uncomfortable, and quite grumpy. Grumpy for him is a good sign, since that means he's feeling well enough to care where he is. He misses his couch. And his dog Molly.

And so recovery begins, and I hope that our days begin recovery as well.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


My dad is scheduled to have his pacemaker surgery tomorrow, the surgery that was supposed to be done three weeks ago and caused all of the recent troubles.

The doctor determined that it was far too dangerous to give Dad the anesthesia, so he'll be doing the surgery under local anesthesia only. That astounds me. They'll be working on his heart! Under local anesthesia!

At any rate, please take a moment in the morning and send up a prayer for my dad if you can. And thanks to everyone for the many prayers on his behalf. We all appreciate it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sass the opera star

Sass loves music and singing more than just about anything. If she's content, she's singing.

Like most children, she loves playing in the bath. Give her few little bath toys, and between the toys and the bathroom acoustics, she's happy for hours. She is one of those children who will take a bath at 2 pm just because she can. (Hey, if two inches of water will make her happy, who am I to stand in her way?) And in the bath -- at whatever time -- she sings, really belting it out and giving the performance of her life.

Tonight we were treated with her rendition of Queen's Somebody to Love during her bath. Over and over. And over.

And let me tell you, my girl can do some amazing vocals.


Whatalotofstuff commented on my recent television post that her favorite Jane Austen film is Sense and Sensibility. As I mentioned before, I watch Pride and Prejudice while folding laundry, but it hasn't always been that way.

While I do love the all of the Austen works I've read, my personal favorite is Persuasion. That was the one I watched until I broke the DVD. I haven't replaced it yet, although I think I'll need to get it soon. I miss it.

Persuasion is not as well known as some of the books, but it's hands-down my favorite. The themes of the book are very similar to her more widely read works, but the characters are more physically and emotionally mature.

Persuasion feels more like a true love story rather than the first blush of romance. These more mature characters have made mistakes, and they have come to terms with the result of those mistakes. It feels so much more realistic than Austen's other novels. I often think that Anne is a deeper, more complete study of Elizabeth Bennet's friend Charlotte, although I don't know that I could defend that position from a literary view.

At any rate, check out this lesser known little gem. The book can be read in its entirety online at this site. If you find the language of the book a little too stuffy, the film is still well worth watching.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dress up, girl power style

SASS: (wearing a jester hat on her head) Guess what I am?

ME: Mmmm. I don't know. A clown?

SASS: Close! I'm a boy.